There are a few shoes that are inarguable classics, one of which being the moc toe crepe soled shoe known as the Wallabee, Grasshopper, or P404 depending on brand or time period. From Britpop to acid house to the reggae all the way to hip-hop in the 90’s, this shoe has had a place in so many subcultures that it’s impossible for any one to claim it. Picture Ghostface Killah, the self-proclaimed Wallabee Champ, in his custom dyed versions or Richard Ashcroft’s pair on the cover of the Verve’s ‘Urban Hymns’ album or even Walter White in his quintessential pair in Breaking Bad - these shoes are an essential piece of the identity of the wearer.
First established in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1934, Padmore & Barnes has a storied history manufacturing footwear. Clarks assumed ownership of Padmore & Barnes in 1964 and during this time, they designed and released many of their now classic shoes - including the Wallabee. Once Clarks decide to move their production to Asia in the 1980’s, Padmore & Barnes again became independent and opted to continue making the shoe, which they called the P404, for their own line in the same meticulous way they had been for years. Padmore has since moved their own production to Portugal where they able to produce their classic silhouettes with some of the best footwear production in the world.
But it’s not just the provenance of the shoe that makes the P404 so compelling to us, it’s also the comfort and wearability. As soon as you put the shoe on you’ll notice just how comfortable they are. The crepe sole is soft but sturdy and flexes just enough, meaning that there’s almost no break in needed. The soft suede and supple leather lining is pliable and wearable right out of the box. And the generous last gives your foot plenty of space while still holding and supporting it. All these are important facets of the shoe that we knew not to stray from in our version.
We wanted our first custom makeup with Padmore & Barnes to be a subtle reinterpretation of the classics. Our P404 boot is made in a shaggy suede in the most quintessential colors: Sand and Black. The Italian suede has a neppy, textured hand that’s a noticeable departure from the classically smooth suede usually employed on this style. We especially love how the moc toe binding is still fully handsewn the way they’ve been doing for almost a century now; look up close and you’ll see the knots inside that have been tied off by hand. Lastly, we made sure that the sole on each pair was tonal: natural crepe for the Tan, and dyed black crepe for the Black. The shoe is then finished with a simple tab on the back with our debossed logo.
All of us here at 3sixteen have interacted with the shoe style at some point and we each have our own unique attachment in some way to them. We’re excited to be able to work with Padmore & Barnes to create our own take on the classic shoe. The 3sixteen x Padmore & Barnes P404 is available in-store and online this Friday December 10th at 12pm EST. The shoe retails for $245.